Why did God rest on the seventh day? Is it because He was tired from all His work as some people have suggested? The bible doesn’t say this at all. Such an explanation suggests that God created the seventh day so that He could ‘recuperate’ from all of His hard work, there are many issues with this theory but I won’t go into them here. If God wasn’t tired and didn’t really need to rest, why did He? And why did He choose to rest on the seventh day at all, why not start again on day one?
I love the explanation highlighted in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) based on the Hebrew text which explains that God rested so that creation could begin to produce and create of and from itself (Genesis 2:3). God stopped working on the 6th day so that creation could start its own work on the 7th! Think about it this way, when a parent wants to teach a child to make something quite complex and difficult what does the parent do? A good parent would first of all show the child exactly how to create it and give the child instructions before giving him/her time and space to have a go for their self. This is exactly what God did, first He created of and from Himself, then He gave creation (‘Be fruitful and multiply’) and mankind (Genesis 1: 28) specific instructions before allowing creation to begin to create of, in and for itself.
But if God intended creation to begin its production cycle on the 7th day why would God later instigate this same day as a time of rest? I think the answer lies in what was being created then and now. When God first created heaven and earth, after every act of creation God saw that it was good and altogether He saw that is was very good. These words are not the same good and very goods we receive from teachers when we receive back a piece of work, in those cases these words of feedback suggest space for improvement. When God said ‘good’ He meant perfect, and when He said very good He meant that perfect creation was working in perfect harmony with itself.
Genesis shows clearly that God had given creation and humankind the ability to continue to perfectly create, produce and add on to the divine and perfect orchestra of Life that God had first set in place; at least this was the case until sin set in. At the time of the Fall, all of our creative attempts became more and more skewed and imperfect as time went on. No longer was it simply becoming increasingly difficult to create according to God’s own divine blueprint but, over time we no longer cared, knew how to or even wanted to, we developed a carnal mindset. This is where God’s redemption plan for all of creation comes into play, part of this plan is the seventh day and what it really means.
The Bible clearly tells us that there is a promised rest, but what is its purpose? We can see this purpose gain clarity in God’s own seventh day rest. God rested on the seventh day so that creation could begin to produce and create good of and for itself. With the incorporation of sin, a reverse pattern appears, we are no longer able to produce and create what is good so God commands us to rest in order for Him to begin to re-create and perfect in, on and for our behalf instead. Let me use the parent-child analogy again to illustrate. When a parent sees a child repeatedly making mistakes on what they are creating what would they do?
- The parent might assume that the child doesn’t fully understand and so might explain more fully, highlighting their mistakes before once more sitting back and letting the child fix or re-create for themselves.
- If the child is still making the same mistakes or even more deep-rooted mistakes, the parent will realise that fundamentally something is wrong somewhere. They will take the project out of the child’s hands so that further damage will not be done and may even re-create and fix it for themselves, before going right back to the beginning with the child and teaching them from scratch.
This is exactly what I experience in keeping the seventh day (sabbath) and what I fully believe is it’s intention and purpose. Jesus (Yeshua) clearly tells us that man was not created for the Sabbath but vice-versa, but what have we really understood this to mean? That the sabbath is irrelevant and therefore should be ignored? If this was the case then we might as well believe that the eternal seventh day rest is also unimportant, however this is not the case as the earthly seventh day points towards a spiritual seventh day rest.
Carnal vs Divine Mindset
To me the seventh day or Sabbath is important because it highlights God’s intention of bringing mankind back into alignment with Himself, it is a process of achieving and reaching a state of divine perfection. Contrary to common held belief, the Sabbath day is not about a single day of the week, it’s about a mindset, and the ongoing journey of re-acquiring the divine mindset that we once had and leaving the carnal mindset behind. There are many people who ritually and religiously keep the Sabbath day, but do not fully understand its purpose. The Sabbath day was created as a tool to enable the divine mindset to be re-birthed and to permeate every single other day of the week, why should any one day be different from any other day?
When we have a divine mindset we begin to realise that all our own work is futile if it is done outside of the perfect will of God. This mindset causes us to rest so that God can do His re-creative work in us so that we can learn once more how to create and produce according to His divine blueprint. If we are honest with ourselves, we spend the majority of the week working according to our own will, limited understanding, knowledge and wisdom, we create and produce what we believe to be good but if it was tested in God’s Holy Fire our output would be unable to withstand the heat. God instigated the seventh day not as a punishment but as an opportunity for us to rest and allow God to work on our behalf instead, taking all that is impure and imperfect in our will and mindset and slowly transforming and renewing us so that day by day and moment by moment we learn more and more how to create like our Heavenly Father.
For many Christians, the Sabbath seems like a big “Thou shalt not work”, but have you stopped to consider why the idea of taking a day off should be so abhorrent to us? I have found that when I am at rest and at my most still, that is when God is most able to do his healing and fixing work in me. All my busyness does is hide the darkness that is within me, of course God is ultimately aware of it as nothing can be hidden from His eyes, but I am not aware. My resting not only brings to light these “darknesses” but it also enables me to come into agreement and alignment with the Holy Spirit to begin the transformation process that will lead me back to that place of divine promised rest, yes even here and now on earth.
Of course, I know that this truth and revelation is not for everybody but at the same time there are those who feel this truth in their inner man. If you are tired of working in your own strength, if you want to experience divine rest even now on earth and to bear the fruit that God blessed us to bear then start with ceasing from the futility of your own work on the 7th day and let God work in you instead. It is not an instant change, but as time goes by you will find that your understanding of work and rest shifts and takes on a more divine perspective or the renewed mind as mentioned in the letters and will begin to permeate your every day moments. As we acquire a renewed mind (divine mindset) we also gain back the ability to work according to God’s instructions at the dawn of our creation:
Gn 1:28 Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
This is what resting in God truly means, coming into alignment with the will of God and abiding in Him (being continuously and constantly in His presence and linked to Him). When we do this we are blessed.
- The Sabbath Rest (gospelbondservant.com)